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Reason July 2019

Reason is the monthly print magazine of "free minds and free markets." It covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews. Reason provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity.

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Reason Magazine
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Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward (kmw@reason.com), Publisher Mike Alissi (malissi@reason.com), Editors at Large Nick Gillespie (gillespie@reason.com), Matt Welch (matt.welch@reason.com), Managing Editor Stephanie Slade (sslade@reason.com), Art Director Joanna Andreasson (joanna@reason.com), Features Editor Peter Suderman (peter.suderman@reason.com), Books Editor Jesse Walker (jwalker@reason.com), Senior Editors Brian Doherty (bdoherty@reason.com), Damon Root (droot@reason.com), Jacob Sullum (jsullum@reason.com), Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey (rbailey@reason.com), Associate Editors Christian Britschgi (christian.britschgi@reason.com), Elizabeth Nolan Brown (elizabeth.brown@reason.com), Mike Riggs (mriggs@reason.com), Scott Shackford (sshackford@reason.com), Robby Soave (robby.soave@reason.com), Assistant Editors Billy Binion (billy.binion@reason.com), Zuri Davis (zuri.davis@reason.com), Reporters Eric Boehm (eric.boehm@reason.com), C.J. Ciaramella (cj.ciaramella@reason.com), Web Developer Justin Maurer (justin.maurer@reason.org), Editorial Assistant Mary Toledo (mtoledo@reason.org) Executive Editor, Reason TV Meredith Bragg (mbragg@reason.com), Managing Editor, Reason TV Jim Epstein (jim.epstein@reason.com), Producers Austin Bragg (austin.bragg@reason.com), Paul Detrick (paul.detrick@reason.com), Alexis Garcia (agarcia@reason.com), Ian Keyser (ian.keyser@reason.com), Todd Krainin (todd.krainin@reason.com), Mark McDaniel (mark.mcdaniel@reason.com),…

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fentanyl is not a nuke, and drug dealers are not terrorists

COULD FENTANYL BE a weapon of mass destruction? That was the prompt for a Department of Homeland Security memo that became public in April, exploring the question of whether the prescription painkiller should be treated like the functional equivalent of a suitcase nuke “when certain criteria are met.” What seems absurd—powerful black-market fentanyl has been blamed for a spike in overdose deaths, but it’s not exactly sarin gas—actually hews to a perverse bureaucratic logic. Government focus on weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) is down, while interest and resources for fighting fentanyl are up. Meanwhile, the powers granted to authorities for national security are expansive and numerous, and they enjoy special exceptions to protections involving due process, accountability, and transparency. Bundling the two is the administrative equivalent of an American heiress marrying…

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AFTER THE MONTHSLONG power blackout that followed Hurricane Maria in 2017, Puerto Ricans realized they couldn’t rely on government to meet their basic needs. Enter Biotecture Planet Earth, a New Mexico–based nonprofit that specializes in sustainable building. The organization is constructing an offgrid, hurricane-resistant compound in Aguada, Puerto Rico. Built largely out of garbage such as tires and cans, the buildings include systems that provide electricity, collect water, and grow food. The compound will serve as an education and community center.…

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the case for sanctions fails at every turn

AS PUNDITS DEBATE how much the Trump administration’s penalties have contributed to Venezuela’s economic crisis and as European governments move forward with a plan to trade with Iran in the face of U.S. sanctions reimposed on the Islamic Republic, it’s time for some calm and straight talk about sanctions. People who oppose putatively humanitarian military interventions are frequently charged with supporting genocidal tyrants. In the same way, people who oppose sanctions on disfavored regimes are often criticized as apologists for those regimes. Each charge is a non sequitur. Suppose the American government sought to impose a general trade embargo on Bozarkia, a (fictional) country with a disturbing human rights record. No doubt some people would oppose the move because they happened to like the regime. But there would be good reasons to…

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trump just can’t quit afghanistan

IMAGINE BEING A U.S. citizen who believes that America should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan after nearly 18 years of increasingly pointless war. Shouldn’t be too hard, since that describes 61 percent of Americans—and an eye-popping 69 percent of veterans—polled in October 2018 by YouGov. But let’s also stipulate that by some glitch in the time-space continuum you become president of the United States, and that in one of your first major post-election interviews you observe that “nothing is going well” in Afghanistan. Wouldn’t you think those troops would be home more than two years after that? This is where we find ourselves in the spring of 2019—with a president who accurately declares in his State of the Union address that “great nations do not fight endless wars,” even while 14,000 of…

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brett kavanaugh flunks his first test as an originalist

IN HIS 2018 confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was asked by Sen. Mike Lee (R–Utah) whether or not he considered himself to be an originalist. “Originalism refers to basically textualism applied in the constitutional sphere, with an eye toward identifying the original public meaning of the constitutional text at issue,” Lee observed. So “for our purposes today, you’re an originalist?” “That’s correct,” Kavanaugh promptly replied. Unfortunately for fans of originalism, Kavanaugh flunked his first big test as an originalist on the Supreme Court. That test came in the case of Timbs v. Indiana. Tyson Timbs was arrested in 2013 on drug charges and sentenced to one year of home detention and five years on probation. A few months after his arrest, the state of Indiana…